Aztecs football reset: 2023 team needs a dozen new starters


As the season ends and the calendar comes full circle, the following immediately comes to mind.

After the San Diego State football team stumbles to a 7-6 record in 2022 — matching the 2018 team for the fewest wins in the last 12 seasons — the Aztecs aim to move closer to double-digit wins in 2023 and has been successful 5 out of 6 times in the past. full season.

SDSU returns about half of the season’s starters highlighted in home games against UCLA, Boise State and Fresno State.

In addition to identifying 12 new starters, SDSU head coach Brady Hawke must identify a new defensive line coach after Justin Ena was fired by BYU this week.

Hawk also has to sort out the offensive coordinator situation — interim OC Jeff Horton said he will hold the position for the remainder of the 2022 season — and quarterback coach Ryan Lindley. — expected to have other options — should remain. staff.

This resets approximately eight weeks before spring practice, allowing players to begin competing again for the top spot on the depth charts.

offense

Return starter (6): Senior QB Jalen Maiden, Sr.; Lieutenant Brandon Crenshaw-Dixon; LG Cade Bennett Jr. RG Thomas Mirabella, yes. RT Josh Simmons, Sr.; TE Mark Redman.

Losing Starter (5): Senior RB Jordan Byrd, Senior RB Chance Bell, Senior WR Jesse Matthews, Senior WR Tyrell Shavers, Senior C Alama Uruabe.

Candidates to start: Senior RB Kenan Christon Jr. RB Jayron Armstead, yes. RB Cam Davis, R-Fr. RB Lucky Sutton Jr. WR Mekhi Shaw, Sr.; WR Bullion Penny Jr. C/G Dean Abdullah
So. RG Ross Urgal Masouri.

Pay attention to: Maiden (141-237, 2,030 yards, 12 TD/10 INT) is the undisputed returning QB starter since Ryan Agnew in 2019.

The running back room is crowded with players of all class levels vying for the start. A mid-season foot injury sidelined Armstead’s emergence (52 carries, 313 yards, 2 TDs). Christon (71 carries, 261 yards, TD) had the most carries among the returners, followed by Maiden (69 carries, 231 yards, 3 TDs).

Nearly half of the team’s receiving yards went out the door on Matthews and Shavers, making wide receivers the offense’s biggest spring storyline.

Raphael Williams Jr., a junior wide receiver from West Carolina, has totaled 120 catches for 1,617 yards and 15 touchdowns over the past two seasons.

Mirabella is the main alternative to Uluave at the center.

defense

Return starter (6): So. LB Zairus Fiaseu, Sr. CB Dallas Branch, Jr. CB Dez Malone, Sr. S Daborn Celestine, Sr. S. Patrick McMorris, Sr. Sedarius Barfield.

Losing Starter (5): Sr. DE Keshawn Banks, Sr. DE Jonah Tabai Sr. DT Justus Tabai Sr. LB Caden McDonald, Sr. LB Michael Shawcroft.

Candidates to start: Sr. OF Garrett Fountain Sr. OF Daniel Oppoko Sr. DT Wyatt Drager Jr. LB Darrell Massaniai Sr. LB Cooper McDonald.

Pay attention to: Hoke mentioned the progress of Fountain and Oppoko many times last season, so give them an early edge.

There are no less than half a dozen other players who could show up ahead, including a potential Portal guy who’s not yet on the spring roster.

SDSU’s early signing class included two JC defensive linemen, juniors Talib Salahuddin and Tupu Al-Aro.

Last week came a boost to the linebacking corps when New Mexico’s Jr. Cody Moon committed to SDSU. Moon is a strong candidate to fill one of his linebacker vacancies in 2022 as he leads the Lobos with 105 tackles and is proficient on the 3-3-5 defense. .

The secondary gets a big boost with the return of three “super” seniors led by McMorris, the team’s second-best tackler in 2022.

special team

Return starter (4): Senior P/K Jack Browning, Junior LS/SS Ryan Wintermeyer.

Losing Starter (3): Senior KR/PR Jordan Byrd, Senior Holder David Delgado.

Candidates to start: So. KR Max Garrison, Jr. PR Mehki Shaw.

Pay attention to: The punt/kick game is solid and Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Year Browning is back. The big challenge is replacing Bird, who was an All-Conference punt and kick returner. Another return candidate to watch is Christon, who was his state sprint champion at Madison High School.

in the portal

Jr. S CJ Baskerville (committed to Texas Tech), yes. TE JP Murphy (dedicated to Eastern Washington), Jr. WR Ronald Gilliam, Sr.; P/K David Shinn, yes. QB William Haskell.

from the portal

WR Williams entered the early signing class and Moon committed last week.

Recruitment/Transfer

SDSU signed 18 players (14 freshmen) during the early signing period in December.

Like last year, Azteca can expect to add six players through the transfer portal.

That way, you’ll only have 1 or 2 slots available for your regular contract period in February.

Schedule for 2023

SDSU kicks off the season with four non-conference games. Idaho (August 26), New Mexico (September 2), UCLA (September 9), Oregon (September 16).

The Aztecs have eight Mountain West Games. Home contests with Boise, Fresno, Nevada and New Mexico, and road games in Air Force, Colorado, Hawaii and San Jose.

Conference game dates will be determined in February.

This season, the conference will transition to one division of 12 teams, with the top two teams meeting for the MW Championship.



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